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Lefty Bloggers say Obama is likely to succeed, and Bush was terrible. Righties disagree:

This week's National Journal poll of leading political bloggers finds that 95% of left-leaning bloggers think that Barack Obama is "somewhat" or "very" likely to succeed as President. Forty-one percent of right-leaning bloggers had that assessment. I rated him "somewhat unlikely," but I think it's very hard to predict. We'll have a much better idea after he's faced the test that Joe Biden predicted.

I wrote: "Many of his appointments suggest that he could exceed the pessimistic view of conservatives who saw him as a hard leftist. We know he can run a campaign; we don't yet know how well he can run the executive branch. He will be tested early by Iran, Venezuela and/or Russia; if he lets them bully him, he will become a one-term failure like Carter."

The poll also asked for an assessment of President Bush. The Left was unanimous in rating him "Terrible." Nobody on the Right rated him as "Great," and only 29% gave him "Good." The winning plurality was "Fair," with 41%.

I voted "Good," since I graded on a curve, and thought him much better than Bill Clinton or George H.W. Bush. My rationale: "No successful terrorist attacks since 9/11. Overall good performance on domestic policy, with the exception of spending out of control. His worst major idea (semi-amnesty for illegal aliens) was, fortunately, not enacted."

Just to be clear, I was referring to terrorist attacks in the U.S., since obviously there have been major attacks in London and Madrid, among other places. And I realize that one could classify certain solo crimes (e.g., the 2002 attack on the Los Angeles airport by an Egyptian) as terrorism. My point was that al Qaeda and its organized allies were thwarted from being able to attack again in the United States.

Snaphappy:
"This week's National Journal poll of leading political bloggers"

Oh what a world we live in. It makes me smile every time I read this phrase.
1.16.2009 3:52pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):
"since 9/11"

I assume you'll give obama a pass on anything that happens in his first 7-8 months as well?
1.16.2009 3:53pm
A Law Dawg:
Although I will be glad when he is gone, I think it's too early to render much of a grade on Bush's presidency, because so much of his legacy will be determined by three things:
1) The eventual outcome in Iraq. If Iraq goes south, Bush's gamble will be reviled forever. Otherwise, he will get a substantial rehabilitation in history.

2) The ultimate effect of Al-Qaeda on anything, anywhere. If AQ gets even one cinematic-scale attack, Bush is going to take a huge hit for "taking his eye off the ball" to go into Iraq. Otherwise, he'll get credit for laying the foundation for the successful neutralization of AQ.

3) What Iran does once it goes nuclear (though this may get lumped on Obama rather than Bush). See #2.
1.16.2009 3:54pm
SWH (mail):
No terrorist attacks since 9/11... has everyone forgotten anthrax?
1.16.2009 3:56pm
A Law Dawg:
To elaborate on my post, I think Bush's domestic legacy, to the extent he even leaves one of note, will be attributed to the Republican Party moreso than Bush himself. That legacy is best summed up as the Breach of Contract With America.

IMO, of course.
1.16.2009 3:57pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
"No successful terrorist attacks since 9/11.



Whether this is because of President Bush's actions, or despite them, or without regard to them, is something that is probably unknowable.
1.16.2009 4:00pm
A Law Dawg:
"No successful terrorist attacks since 9/11. Whether this is because of President Bush's actions, or despite them, or without regard to them, is something that is probably unknowable.


Or, at least, until stuff starts getting declassified in The Distant Future.
1.16.2009 4:01pm
RPT (mail):
I like this new method of analysis: If I get to exclude my greatest failure, I can argue that I have been perfect since then! How about GWB deserves great credit because "there have been no terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center since 2001". How can anyone take this argument seriously?
1.16.2009 4:06pm
Allan (mail):
David,

Is your assessment on an objective or a subjective basis? For example, liberals might view the Roberts and Alito nominations as a failure. Conservatives as a raging success.

And, certainly, on a number of issues, Bush has failed or done badly, objectively. Many of the things he tried, like Iraq, did not succeed during his tenure on any basis.

As for Obama, if he implements a severely left wing agenda (I'm not saying he will try to do it) and the country is better for it, but it is appalling to you, would you concede he succeeded?

Also, your view that Clinton was not as successful as Bush 43 is laughable.
1.16.2009 4:07pm
eyesay:
Legacy of George Walker Bush presidency

Good:

* President's Emergency Program For Aids Relief (PEPFAR)

* Republican party discredited and demoralized for a generation

Bad:

...

* Failure to grasp the significance of the August 6 memo and respond effectively

* Manipulation of intelligence to generate support for disastrous war

* Subordination of science to politics

* Failure to strengthen New Orleans flood control system before Katrina

* Failure to deal with Katrina devastation quickly and effectively

* Wrecking the career of Valerie Plame for purely political purposes, putting the lives of her foreign contacts in jeopardy and destroying a CIA asset

* Use of torture, lying about it, and attempting to redefine torture procedures as not torture

* Eight years of neglect of the climate crisis, about which, sadly, many of the commentators on this blog are in denial

...
...
...

Worst President Ever
1.16.2009 4:08pm
SecurityGeek:
"No successful terrorist attacks since 9/11. Overall good performance on domestic policy, with the exception of spending out of control.

My rating of Captain E. Smith, RMS Titanic:

"Good. No iceberg strikes since 4/12. Overall good performance in customer service, with the exception of the majority of them dying."
1.16.2009 4:09pm
AndyinNC:
Yep, besides the biggest security failure in American history, Bush has been great.

I don't know what's worse, the absurd glossing over of the fact that 9/11 happened on his watch or that there were multiple domestic terrorist attacks since 9/11 (anthrax, dc sniper, etc.).

Clearly, people like Kopel are living in a very strange alternate reality.
1.16.2009 4:14pm
Spinster:
"No terrorist attacks since 9/11" sounds good.
"No terrorist attacks other than 9/11" sounds really bad, (because 9/11 was a pretty huge disaster).

That's why right-wingers phrase it the first way.
1.16.2009 4:17pm
A Law Dawg:
* Failure to deal with Katrina devastation quickly and effectively

* Wrecking the career of Valerie Plame for purely political purposes, putting the lives of her foreign contacts in jeopardy and destroying a CIA asset


I have to take issue with both of these.

1) I've never understood this complaint, as by law the national guard troops were under the control of the Governor.

2) Wasn't it Richard Armitage who leaked Plame's name?
1.16.2009 4:18pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
It's not terribly surprising that "left" bloggers like Obama and dislike Bush, and "right" bloggers generally come out the opposite way (albeit apparently even few of them can muster genuine enthusiasm for G.W.).

What's more important, I would suggest, is that, at least at this point, clear majorities of Americans in general approve of Obama and disapprove of Bush.
1.16.2009 4:20pm
A Law Dawg:
dc sniper


The DC Sniper wasn't terrorism, it was serial killing.
1.16.2009 4:20pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

Just to be clear, I was referring to terrorist attacks in the U.S., since obviously there have been major attacks in London and Madrid, among other places. And I realize that one could classify certain solo crimes (e.g., the 2002 attack on the Los Angeles airport by an Egyptian) as terrorism. My point was that al Qaeda and its organized allies were thwarted from being able to attack again in the United States.


Still, by any objective measure it is too soon to say. In 2010, let's have this conversation again. Remember that 8 years passed between Al Qaeda attacks in the US in 1993 and 2001. I don't know how many terrorist attacks were thwarted under Clinton either, but certainly if we include foreign holdings, they are up, not down, under Bush, and they were not new under Bush.

Strangely I have more bad things to say about Bush than Clinton, but also more good things to say about him.
1.16.2009 4:21pm
eyesay:
A Law Dawg: My post was titled "Legacy of George Walker Bush presidency." Mr. Armitage was deputy secretary of state, a member of the Bush administration, and leaking of Valerie Plame's name was something that happened under the Bush presidency by a high administration official. Even assuming arguendo that Mr. Armitage was acting on his own, the Bush administration had politicized things in a manner and extent that made such actions far more likely. I cannot imagine a deputy secretary of state in the Reagan, Carter, Ford, or Nixon administrations doing something like this, but it's a natural for the George Walker Bush administration.
1.16.2009 4:26pm
AntonK (mail):
Krauthammer explains with his usual lucidity why I'm laughing at the Angry Left with even more gusto now, than I did for the past 8 years:

The beauty of democratic rotations of power is that when the opposition takes office, cheap criticism and calumny will no longer do. The Democrats now own Iraq. They own the war on al-Qaeda. And they own the panoply of anti-terror measures with which the Bush administration kept us safe these past seven years.

Which is why Obama is consciously creating a gulf between what he now dismissively calls "campaign rhetoric" and the policy choices he must make as president. Accordingly, Newsweek -- Obama acolyte and scourge of everything Bush/Cheney -- has on the eve of the Democratic restoration miraculously discovered the arguments for warrantless wiretaps, enhanced interrogation and detention without trial. Indeed, Newsweek's neck-snapping cover declares, "Why Obama May Soon Find Virtue in Cheney's Vision of Power."

1.16.2009 4:26pm
SecurityGeek:
Strangely I have more bad things to say about Bush than Clinton, but also more good things to say about him.

I think it's difficult to understand the strong feelings about Clinton after living through Bush. Unless you have a very personal connection to an issue (Kosovo, E. Gonzales, the proper storage of cigars) it's really difficult to come up with a Clinton action that dredges up real emotion now.
1.16.2009 4:27pm
A Law Dawg:
it's really difficult to come up with a Clinton action that dredges up real emotion now.


The alleged sale of secrets to China leap to mind.
1.16.2009 4:29pm
A Law Dawg:
Oh, and the perjury and obstruction of justice.
1.16.2009 4:31pm
A Law Dawg:
Mr. Armitage was deputy secretary of state, a member of the Bush administration, and leaking of Valerie Plame's name was something that happened under the Bush presidency by a high administration official.


So the administration is responsible for the acts of someone actively trying to thwart a major (if not definitive) administration policy?

Even assuming arguendo that Mr. Armitage was acting on his own, the Bush administration had politicized things in a manner and extent that made such actions far more likely. I cannot imagine a deputy secretary of state in the Reagan, Carter, Ford, or Nixon administrations doing something like this, but it's a natural for the George Walker Bush administration.


So it doesn't count when an associate director of the FBI sells out *the President* himself?
1.16.2009 4:36pm
My Middle Name Is Ralph:

* Failure to deal with Katrina devastation quickly and effectively

* Wrecking the career of Valerie Plame for purely political purposes, putting the lives of her foreign contacts in jeopardy and destroying a CIA asset

I have to take issue with both of these.

1) I've never understood this complaint, as by law the national guard troops were under the control of the Governor.

2) Wasn't it Richard Armitage who leaked Plame's name?


1. FEMA had a little hand in responding to Katrina. remember Heckava Job Brownie the Arabian Horse guy?

2. Armitage worked in whose administration again?
1.16.2009 4:37pm
Perseus (mail):
What's more important, I would suggest, is that, at least at this point, clear majorities of Americans in general approve of Obama and disapprove of Bush.

Other than appointments and perhaps some arm twisting on the financial bailout (which the public didn't seem to like too much), I don't see it as very apt comparing public opinion at the end of one man's presidency and the pre-start of another's.
1.16.2009 4:39pm
AndyinNC:

The DC Sniper wasn't terrorism, it was serial killing.


Weird. Plenty of folks called it terrorism at the time. And the Virginia Supreme Court did too:


"Muhammad, with his sniper team partner, Malvo, randomly selected innocent victims" Virginia Supreme Court Justice Donald Lemons wrote in the decision. "With calculation, extensive planning, premeditation and ruthless disregard for life, Muhammad carried out his cruel scheme of terror."


I guess it doesn't count because, um, we now need to pretend that there wasn't any terrorism after 9/11.
1.16.2009 4:49pm
A Law Dawg:
1. FEMA had a little hand in responding to Katrina. remember Heckava Job Brownie the Arabian Horse guy?

2. Armitage worked in whose administration again?


1. I will withdraw my objection, given FEMA.

2. Armitage didn't know Plame was a CIA operative. I know that doesn't fit the "Bush Administration puts politics above national security" narrative, but there you are.
1.16.2009 4:52pm
A Law Dawg:
I guess [the DC Sniper incident] doesn't count because, um, we now need to pretend that there wasn't any terrorism after 9/11.


I have no such agenda; I just think it's silly to put the DC Sniper in the same league as Al-Qaeda or Tim McVeigh. To my knowledge, the DC Snipers weren't trying to bring about political change. They were just flat out murdering.
1.16.2009 4:54pm
LN (mail):
Not only did Bush go 7 1/2 years without a terrorist attack after 9/11, he went 7 1/2 years without a financial collapse before the one we're in now and 6 years without invading a country on false pretenses after Iraq. Nuff said. Also, there were more than 7 1/2 years of his Presidency when the Katrina wasn't an emergency, and no other American cities were wiped out during that time.
1.16.2009 4:55pm
MartyA:
While I believe that Bush had some high points and some lows, I'm just hoping that Chimpy the Kenyan Muslim can just do as well as Bush did. The first major test, of course, will be the next Islamist terrorist attack which I estimate will take place before income tax day, April 15, 2009. Chimpy's dithering will bring the second attack by July 4, 2009.
Then, we'll see if he strikes back as Bush would, or surrenders Kansas or Israel or adopts sharia.
1.16.2009 5:01pm
AndyinNC:
I also think it's silly to compare the DC snipers to Al Qaeda. But many, mostly on the right, were highly invested in calling it terrorism, and more specifically Islamic terrorism. Robbins even brings up the LAX attack in 2002: terrorism! Michelle Malkin went nuts about the "jihadist" who drove an SUV through the UNC pit. Terrorism!

And the anthrax attacks! Fear of bio-weapons was used months later to convince the nation to go to war in Iraq.

But now we're being told that there were NONE, ZERO, NADA, ZILCH domestic terror attacks after 9/11. It's so weird as to be absurd.
1.16.2009 5:04pm
pmorem (mail):
eyesay seems to be thinking that the ending of Valerie Plame's career at the CIA was a bad thing.

Based on what I've seen of said career, I'm not convinced. Things like sending Iranian agents a list of our agents in Iran, and delivering to Iran a functional design for a nuclear trigger. The charitable interpretation is that she was incompetent the whole Wilson/Plame/Armitage affair prevented her firing. The less charitable view is that she was a double-agent, and her prosecution was prevented.

It seems to me that lefties also overlook Joe Wilson's whole bringing attention to the matter. Before he wrote his false op-ed, he knew his wife was involved in sending him to Niger, and should have known there would be some attention given to issues surrounding his op-ed. I would not be surprised if the op-ed was actually a deliberate act by Wilson and Plame to politically insulate them from any repercussions of her other acts.
1.16.2009 5:07pm
A Law Dawg:
AndyinNC,

Those people were silly too. The reaction to the anthrax attacks was much more justified at the time, but I think in retrospect they didn't matter much.
1.16.2009 5:08pm
AndyinNC:
Wow, Valerie Plame was a double agent?

(That is an awesome spoof of a unhinged right winger, by the way. You should try including a few minor spelling and grammar errors, and maybe mention Hillary's lesbian assassin squad for more authenticity, though.)
1.16.2009 5:11pm
AndyinNC:

Those people were silly too. The reaction to the anthrax attacks was much more justified at the time, but I think in retrospect they didn't matter much.


Look it, my point is not about whether those things were terror or not, it's that the people who have been telling us that there was terror(!) are now telling us that there was NO terror. It's freaking bizarre.

Does Kopel really not understand Google or think that not a single human remembers the past 7 years? I'm just trying to figure out the psychology of this delusion.
1.16.2009 5:15pm
New Pseudonym:
Lefties say Bush bad, Obama good! Righties disagree!

In other breaking news, dog bites man.
1.16.2009 5:17pm
RPT (mail):
"MartyA:

While I believe that Bush had some high points and some lows, I'm just hoping that Chimpy the Kenyan Muslim can just do as well as Bush did."

Calling a black man "Chimpy'? Wow.
1.16.2009 5:17pm
pmorem (mail):
Wow, Valerie Plame was a double agent?

I didn't specify which of the interpretations I thought more likely. I think it more likely she was a f***-up.

I think it's highly probable that people are dead because of her.

The points about Wilson, though, are openly confirmable from Senate testimony by Wilson.
1.16.2009 5:18pm
Jim at FSU (mail):
Kennedy was a great president too. Until debated Kruschev in Vienna, leading to the Cuban missile crisis and us losing our missiles in Turkey. Oh, and then Vietnam.

Bush had all the makings of a small-government, non-interventionist president who was going to keep us out of other country's affairs. At the end of 2000, there was mostly widespread peace and the economy appeared to be doing so well that we could have everything we wanted without a deficit (dot com boom was still going and the housing boom was getting started). A do-nothing president would have been ideal at this point, assuming the conditions were permanent.

Then the dot com boom collapsed and 9/11 happened. The government fumbled in changing gears and the republicans suddenly found themselves in an environment they weren't equipped to succeed in. I doubt the democrats would have done any better in the post 9/11 panic, but we'll never know.

Every bad president has had tons of potentially redeeming features, the only problem is that he doesn't get to choose his trials. If everything that happens during a president's term plays to his weak points, even a perfectly rational electorate will not count for much until after the fact. It's like electing a cheetah over a turtle for a race and then learning 6 months after the election that the race will be held underwater.
1.16.2009 5:18pm
pmorem (mail):
Calling a black man "Chimpy'? Wow.

Yes. It's not racist to call Bush "Chimpy". Substituting Obama's name is racist, though.
1.16.2009 5:20pm
A Law Dawg:
At the end of 2000, there was mostly widespread peace and the economy appeared to be doing so well that we could have everything we wanted without a deficit (dot com boom was still going and the housing boom was getting started)


Just a quibble: By the end of 2000, the dot com crash was already well underway.
1.16.2009 5:26pm
Curt Fischer:

My point was that al Qaeda and its organized allies were thwarted from being able to attack again in the United States.


Saying that al Qaeda was "thwarted" implies that they tried to attack again but were stopped. I don't personally know of any evidence that this is true. What is the evidence? I am asking sincerely, as I have not followed the situation closely.
1.16.2009 5:29pm
Constantin:
Every time I want to temper my disgust with Bush, I just look at what Lefties have to say about him. Instant rehab.
1.16.2009 5:36pm
Floridan:
Let's put the poll results another way: of those surveyed, only five right-leaning bloggers thought Bush's performance was better than fair.

You're in pretty exclusive company, David.
1.16.2009 5:44pm
Constantin:
Floridan, surely you'd concede that the reasons the Left bloggers don't like Bush and the reasons the Right bloggers don't are nearly opposite.

I know that my biggest problem with his presidency was his seeming inability to actually stand up for himself unless immigration was involved. I tend to doubt many on the left would share that assessment.
1.16.2009 5:53pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
The collapse of the credit derivative market on Bush's watch was his iceberg. In fact, no one yet knows the total size of the problem. And, just as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing should have put Bush on notice that al-Qaeda would strike again, so should the 1998 collapse of credit derivative trader Long-Term Capital Management have put Bush on notice that credit derivatives could jeopardize the world's financial system.

But Republicans don't believe in market regulation and so none was proposed.
1.16.2009 5:58pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
In fact, thinking about it, Clinton was just as successful as G.W. Bush in preventing al-Qaeda attacks: 1993-2000 vs. 2001-2008. Plus Clinton left office with a surplus, which G.W. Bush decided to distribute to the American people by cutting taxes on the highest earners.
1.16.2009 6:06pm
pmorem (mail):
Beyond whatever reflections it has on the Bush administration, I think there's a lesson to all of us in the credit derivative collapse:

Don't trust models that nobody understands.
1.16.2009 6:20pm
Sachlichkeit:
"His worst major idea (semi-amnesty for illegal aliens) was, fortunately, not enacted"

Indeed. Lawbreaking must be punished—but only if those breaking the law are poor and brown. When the Leader does it to keep us safe, he must be protected because he is a Patriot and his Good and Just decisions must not be questioned.

Unfortunately Obama will be enforcing many fringe-leftist concepts such as requiring search warrants before the Government can eavesdrop on our communications and due process before the state can encage people for life.
1.16.2009 6:32pm
DangerMouse:
Funny that the left thinks Bush doesn't deserve any credit for working to prevent terrorist attacks on America, but then complain about the very actions that he did to round up al qaeda, such as rendition (started under Clinton), etc.

So Bush did nothing, but all the stuf he did was war crimes and illegal!

Meh. BDS infects the mind, I suppose. Now that they have their Messiah in office, all they need is their faith and not brains. I guess that's what they wanted.
1.16.2009 6:33pm
PersonFromPorlock:

Overall good performance on domestic policy, with the exception of spending out of control.

"Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...."
1.16.2009 6:36pm
DiversityHire:
But Republicans don't believe in market regulation and so none was proposed.

Yes, Republicans' whole hearted embrace of laissez-faire capitalism and limited government are surely to blame for the present state of the economy and Bush's dismal approval ratings. If only Bush had pushed for greater regulation… had increased government spending faster… had curtained personal liberty even further, we wouldn't be in this mess. If only he'd started a war in the middle-east to secure a source of cheap oil and keep all those oil sheiks under our collective thumb—or at least had the foresight to start developing domestic alternatives… Why couldn't he see through all the learned dogma bandied about by Nobel laureate economists to prevent fickle humans from acting in their own best interest under unclear rules to the detriment of the whole… what a loser.
1.16.2009 6:37pm
this is not a comment:
Overall good performance on domestic policy

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

(There followed a musical interlude suited to the occasion....)
1.16.2009 6:52pm
LM (mail):
MartyA:

While I believe that Bush had some high points and some lows, I'm just hoping that Chimpy the Kenyan Muslim can just do as well as Bush did. The first major test, of course, will be the next Islamist terrorist attack which I estimate will take place before income tax day, April 15, 2009. Chimpy's dithering will bring the second attack by July 4, 2009.
Then, we'll see if he strikes back as Bush would, or surrenders Kansas or Israel or adopts sharia.

SARCASTRO, I dare you to parody that.
1.16.2009 7:07pm
LM (mail):
LN,

Exactly.
1.16.2009 7:11pm
Brian K (mail):
Yep, besides the biggest security failure in American history, Bush has been great.

although i think that specific right-wing talking point is ridiculous, pearl harbor would probably qualify as a bigger security failure. but at least that one led to a just war, not like the travesty in iraq.
1.16.2009 7:30pm
AndrewK (mail):
The comments on the NJO poll are illuminating. The left-leaning bloggers all think Obama will be successful, and gauge that as a substantive success--- actually getting things done. The right-leaning bloggers are nearly unanimously skeptical about Obama as a substantive matter. Those that say he will be "successful" in any way are gauging success as a matter of perception, of public relations.

That is, Obama will be successful because (1) the press won't hold him accountable, and (2) the big problems are already solved or being solved or will solve themselves.
1.16.2009 7:38pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

Why couldn't [Bush] see through all the learned dogma bandied about by Nobel laureate economists ...

The economics Nobel is no guarantee of quality or accuracy (I'm lookin' at you, Paul Krugman). Consider that among Long Term Capital Management's directors and modelmakers were Nobelists Robert C. Merton and Myron S. Scholes

Despite the Nobelists' work, derivatives took LTCM down.
1.16.2009 7:42pm
bushbasher:
NO ONE believes bush wasn't a complete fuck-up. not even bush. the polls only tell us how many people are lying about what they think.
1.16.2009 7:43pm
commontheme (mail):
Let's see: If Obama receives a credible warning during a security briefing that Bin Laden is planning to attack the US, possibly by use of aircraft, and does nothing about it for several months, will you say he was being a "good" president?

Asserting that one's opinion about whether or not Bush was a good president is a function of one's overall political views is just dumb. I'm a Goldwater conservative, lifetime NRA member, etc. and I think Bush has been an embarrassing disaster.

It is unfortunate, indeed, that some people are so into acting as a cheerleader for what they perceive to be "right" or "conservative" politics that they are blind to this fact.
1.16.2009 7:55pm
Constantin:
At what point would a terrorist attack be Obama's fault and not Bush's? We know from this thread that eight months in, it's the new guy's problem. But what about if hell breaks loose in April or February or January 21? Where's the line?
1.16.2009 8:01pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
It will be interesting to see how Obama fares as far as terrorism goes. My worry is that too many of the Clintonistas are being hired who thought that civil rights were more important than security, and were willing to sacrifice security to keep the FBI from talking to the CIA.

But I think that the real test for Obama is going to be on the economy,and right now I am pessimistic. Much of it isn't his fault, but rather the result of his bringing such a large number of Democrats to Congress. My view is that the proposed "bailout" and "economic stimulus" package are merely a pretext to a massive porkfest and a chance for the left of the Democratic Party to implement all of their wet dreams with the economy.

Nevertheless, if the stimulus doesn't work, and he signed it into law, it is going to look like his problem. With the proposals there is a real chance that we could still be mired in a recession in four years when he runs for reelection.

So, is Obama another Bill Clinton? Or another Jimmy Carter? My expectation is the later, but hope for the former.
1.16.2009 8:06pm
eyesay:
Jim at FSU: "I doubt the democrats would have done any better in the post 9/11 panic, but we'll never know." Ahem, if President Gore had been allowed to serve the office to which he was elected, he would have understood the significance of the August 6 memorandum, and "9/11" would never have happened.
1.16.2009 8:15pm
David Matthews (mail):
"if President Gore had been allowed to serve the office to which he was elected"

I can't see you, but I'm guessing you came to a legal blog, and posted this with a straight face.

Chill, dude. Whether you think Bush v. Gore was rightly or wrongly decided, Gore was not elected.
1.16.2009 8:25pm
David Matthews (mail):
So we have this amazing result:

After 8 years of Bush, lefty bloggers unanimously think he failed, and righty bloggers are of mixed opinions, given that he's actually served and made decisions for eight years.

And before a single day of Obama, most everyone's willing to wait and see what he can do, with lefties being more optimistic about his chances of success than righties are.

Who'd a thunk it?
1.16.2009 8:28pm
UnintelligibleLiberal (mail):

While I believe that Bush had some high points and some lows, I'm just hoping that Chimpy the Kenyan Muslim can just do as well as Bush did. The first major test, of course, will be the next Islamist terrorist attack which I estimate will take place before income tax day, April 15, 2009. Chimpy's dithering will bring the second attack by July 4, 2009.
Then, we'll see if he strikes back as Bush would, or surrenders Kansas or Israel or adopts sharia.


How is that not worthy of [removed by moderator]? Name-calling, unfounded hysteria ("surrendering Kansas or Israel"), and racist slurs (just for good measure). Classy MartyA.
1.16.2009 8:37pm
pmorem (mail):
How is that not worthy of [removed by moderator]? Name-calling, unfounded hysteria ("surrendering Kansas or Israel"), and racist slurs (just for good measure).

I believe it was actually sarcasm, mocking Bush-bashers.

I'm opposed to referring to either Bush or Obama is "Chimpy". I guess my previous response kinda left that out. It's lame no matter who it's being said about.
1.16.2009 9:28pm
TokyoTom (mail):
David, at first glance your seemingly humorous, tongue-in-cheek, state the obvious "dog bites man" headline signalled a fun yet thoughtful post. What we got inside was something almost sickening shallow, offering zero introspection.

Only rabid partisans and other self-deluded people can think that the past two Bush terms have been "good". I don`t know of a single libertarian or paleocon who would agree with you.
1.16.2009 9:30pm
GatoRat:
I'm no fan of Bush--I always viewed him as a RINO. However, anyone who says he was the worse has never heard of Jimmy Carter or James Buchanan.
1.16.2009 9:31pm
David Warner:
DangerMouse,

"the left thinks"

Who knew?
1.16.2009 9:34pm
David Warner:
TT,

"Only rabid partisans and other self-deluded people can think that the past two Bush terms have been "good". I don`t know of a single libertarian or paleocon who would agree with you."

Depending on the context, I would. I'm hoping for better with Obama, but all things considered, I'd say that Nixon and Bush I were worse than Bush II, and JFK/LBJ/Carter were all close. Reagan/Clinton were the best since FDR.
1.16.2009 9:39pm
GatoRat:

* Failure to deal with Katrina devastation quickly and effectively


This is a lie. Beyond the simple fact that the Governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans were responsible and utterly negligent, the press repeatedly and blatantly lied about what was happening. They ignored the prepositioned Coast Guard and Navy ships and the number of people airlifted out the very next day. The media not only lied about what happened at the Superdome, they didn't even bother to find out the truth. Unlike the US Military, they stood at a distance, made stuff up and repeated vicious rumors. (Meanwhile, school buses sat in school yards.)

Unfortunately, the true lesson of New Orleans was instantly forgotten--the federal government is the resource of last resort. (The second lesson is that leaders and citizens of New Orleans are idiots. How that's the responsibility of the POTUS is beyond me. Fortunately, residents of Iowa actually acted like responsible adults last year.)
1.16.2009 9:40pm
AndyinNC:
Yes, GatoRat, that is a lovely attempt to absolve Bush of all responsibility. Surely staffing FEMA with incompetents would have no ill effects! No one is saying that the city or state did a good job, but you and others have desperately made Katrina into a Bush vs Nagin and Blanco cage match. Sorry, it won't fly. That all failed. They were all incompetent.

Again, I bring this up because of my interest in the psychology of Bush apologism. Are such people desperate to excuse Bush so as to absolve their own consciences of guilt for supporting him for the past 8 year?
1.16.2009 9:50pm
pmorem (mail):
Again, I bring this up because of my interest in the psychology of Bush apologism. Are such people desperate to excuse Bush so as to absolve their own consciences of guilt for supporting him for the past 8 year?

There's a difference between trying to support and trying to blunt or confuse attcks. I don't think I've been terribly supportive of Bush for the past 8 years, but I have been fairly aggressive in trying to blunt attacks. To some lesser extent, I've already done the same thing with Obama.
1.16.2009 9:57pm
autolykos:

Ahem, if President Gore had been allowed to serve the office to which he was elected, he would have understood the significance of the August 6 memorandum, and "9/11" would never have happened.


1. Seriously. Educate yourself. Please. Here's a Start Just because there was a set of circumstances under which Gore would have won doesn't mean you can ignore the circumstances (including the one asked for by Gore) in which he didn't.

2. I suspect this is just political silliness, but what would Gore have done in the month prior to 9/11 if he had received the ambiguous "warning" on August 6? Put federal marshalls on every flight (oh wait, we still don't have that)? Institute racial profiling? Form the TSA (yeah, that'll happen in a month)? Do you honestly think that presidents institute massive overhauls of security procedures with every vague threat they receive? I realize the post is probably tongue-in-cheek, but it's a common enough sentiment that it's worth addressing. I'm curious as to where all the Monday morning quarterbacks get their confidence in Mr. Gore.
1.16.2009 9:58pm
wm13:
I too am opposed to referring to any president as "Chimpy," but not being an absolutely flaming hypocrite, I'm not going to get all outraged now. What kind of total jerk would start complaining about that usage now?
1.16.2009 10:11pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I suspect some commenters have forgotten that Mr. Gore had won a majority of the popular vote in 2000. While normally I support the Electoral College, after 8 years of W., I am willing to go the other way.
1.16.2009 10:46pm
pgarland (mail):
He will be tested early by Iran, Venezuela and/or Russia; if he lets them bully him, he will become a one-term failure like Carter.

Perhaps I'm showing my ignorance of the capabilities and influences of Venezuela, but is there a mechanism for Venezuela to "test" Obama that doesn't hurt Venezuela more than it harms the United States?
1.16.2009 10:51pm
David Matthews (mail):
"I suspect some commenters have forgotten that Mr. Gore had won a majority of the popular vote in 2000"

I really doubt that. Hell, even my developmental math students, who were only 11 or 12 at the time, and not the brightest bulbs, know that Gore won the popular vote in 2000. And pretty much all of the posters here are a bit more aware of recent political history.
1.16.2009 10:52pm
Daryl Herbert (www):
I also think it's silly to compare the DC snipers to Al Qaeda. But many, mostly on the right, were highly invested in calling it terrorism, and more specifically Islamic terrorism. Robbins even brings up the LAX attack in 2002: terrorism! Michelle Malkin went nuts about the "jihadist" who drove an SUV through the UNC pit. Terrorism!

People don't just act the way they are genetically programmed. Our behavior is largely learned, based on observing people around us.

A certain community (Muslims) has a lot of "heroes" who commit terror attacks, whether they be blowing up buildings, buses, cars, airplanes, or humvees, or gunning down civilians in the street, or chopping off heads, or throwing acid in women's faces.

When people from that community experience depression and decide to commit suicide, they're more likely to go on a rampage, especially one targeted at Jewish people. That's why there have been so many Muslim freak-out attacks on Americans in America, relative to the small size of their population.

Whether they are crashing planes into buildings (like Bishara a.k.a. "Bishop") shooting Jews in an airport (Hadayet) or trying to run people over with an SUV (at UNC and in the San Francisco Bay Area), and many others I've missed, Muslim suicides are more likely to commit terror-type attacks on their way out. If they only kill a small number of people, it's not for lack of trying.

Until the Muslim community at large stops celebrating suicide bombers around the world, we are going to continue to experience terror-type attacks against American citizens, on American soil, by American Muslims.
1.16.2009 11:05pm
LN (mail):
WTF? How many terror-type attacks against American citizens on American soil by American Muslims have there been?

It's nice that you have a long elaborate theory to explain something that doesn't even exist.
1.16.2009 11:12pm
RPT (mail):
"Bruce Hayden:

My worry is that too many of the Clintonistas are being hired who thought that civil rights were more important than security, and were willing to sacrifice security to keep the FBI from talking to the CIA."

Another myth. There was no such barrier that is any way relevant to the terrorist issues. Move on to the next one.
1.16.2009 11:14pm
AndyinNC:

I really doubt that. Hell, even my developmental math students, who were only 11 or 12 at the time, and not the brightest bulbs, know that Gore won the popular vote in 2000. And pretty much all of the posters here are a bit more aware of recent political history.


So you're saying that developmentally challenged students have a better grasp on the history of the past decade than people who have conveniently forgotten the numerous terror attacks in the U.S. since 9/11?

I think I might just believe that.
1.16.2009 11:26pm
David Matthews (mail):
"people who have conveniently forgotten the numerous terror attacks in the U.S. since 9/11?"

versus

"know that Gore won the popular vote in 2000."

Son, I'm thinking your reading comprehension puts you on the short bus.
1.16.2009 11:29pm
LM (mail):
commontheme:

Asserting that one's opinion about whether or not Bush was a good president is a function of one's overall political views is just dumb. I'm a Goldwater conservative, lifetime NRA member, etc. and I think Bush has been an embarrassing disaster.

You're being too hard on some of your conservative friends. Despite contrary appearances, they're not actually waving off every single criticism of Bush as the product of BDS. Just every single criticism of Bush from liberals.
1.17.2009 12:05am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dawg:

Wasn't it Richard Armitage who leaked Plame's name?


You're doing what is commonly done: implying that Armitage was the only leaker. He wasn't. Armitage was one of four known leakers. The others are Libby, Rove and Fleischer.

=============
andy:

Fear of bio-weapons was used months later to convince the nation to go to war in Iraq.


Indeed. McCain himself said the anthrax "may have come from Iraq."

You're right that the GOP has suddenly gotten amnesia, and is claiming (by omission) that certain acts were not terrorism. Even though at the time, the GOP called those acts terrorism. It all depends on what happens to be politically convenient, in the moment.

=============
dangermouse:

rendition (started under Clinton)


Wrong. Reagan.

=============
pmorem:

his [Wilson's] false op-ed


There is nothing false in Wilson's op-ed. The traditional method of attempting to discredit Wilson involves promoting blatant misinformation (and maybe you've been taken in by some of that misinformation). A classic example is described here (scroll down to a long paragraph inside parens).
1.17.2009 12:29am
David Matthews (mail):
"Armitage was one of four known leakers. The others are Libby, Rove and Fleischer."

"Known" how? Through the courts? From sworn affidavits? From congressional testimony? Or just, like, known and stuff?
1.17.2009 12:37am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
david:

"Known" how?


Through many means. Here are a few examples.

Regarding Fleischer:

Fleischer … admitted to government prosecutors that he had spoken to several reporters about Wilson's wife in the days before he left his job.


Regarding Rove:

Rove spoke with at least one reporter about Valerie Plame's role at the CIA before she was identified as a covert agent in a newspaper column


Regarding Libby:

Miller told the jury that "a very irritated and angry" Libby told her in a confidential conversation on June 23, 2003, that the wife of a prominent critic of the Iraq war worked at the CIA


There's lot of other proof I could present, but this is enough to answer your question. And you should really learn how to do your own googling.
1.17.2009 1:04am
David Matthews (mail):
Well, let's see, if we're not just a partisan puke, we can look at the record:

"After receiving an immunity agreement, Fleischer testified that he had revealed Ms. Plame's identity to reporters after learning it from Libby.[5] However, in the end it was discovered that Richard Armitage first leaked Ms. Plame's identity, not Mr. Libby or Mr. Cheney." (from Wikipekia)

and I could continue to present further evidence. But you really should learn how to do your own research.

Or, you can just continue to be a partisan shill. But those are eventually frowned on at VC
1.17.2009 1:24am
~aardvark (mail):
On a related note, no dinosaurs became extinct during the Bush presidency. Why is Kopel doing a Fred Barnes impersonation? At least Barnes has an excuse--he gets well paid to act like a complete sycophantic moron. What's Kopel's excuse?
1.17.2009 1:42am
David Warner:
LM,

"Just every single content-free criticism of Bush from liberals the Left."

There, fixed. Depending on where a particular liberal's bread is buttered, said liberal will go along more or less with the Bush hate, but the real passion is from the Left. As usual. Sound and fury signifying not so much.

Bush seems pretty liberal himself (that's a good thing), but didn't exhibit much talent in hiring fellow liberals or working with the ones he did (such as DeLulio).
1.17.2009 1:45am
PC:
Or, you can just continue to be a partisan shill. But those are eventually frowned on at VC

Really? I'm still waiting to hear some resolution in the ACORN conspiracy that was undermining the fabric of our democracy. Things have been oddly silent on that front.
1.17.2009 1:49am
David Matthews (mail):
"Really? I'm still waiting to hear some resolution in the ACORN conspiracy that was undermining the fabric of our democracy."

Obviously, you don't live in Minnesota. Almost-Senator Franken will, should he be seated, forever be the senator from Acorn. But, to give the Minnesota Supreme Court, and the Federal Courts involved credit, they are increasingly skeptical of the arguments from Secretary Mark (ACORN) Ritchie. It's quite possible that those of us in Minnesota with more than a utility bill to prove our eligibility to vote might actually win this bizarre battle.
1.17.2009 2:02am
LM (mail):
David Matthews,

Which part of

"After receiving an immunity agreement, Fleischer testified that he had revealed Ms. Plame's identity to reporters after learning it from Libby.[5] However, in the end it was discovered that Richard Armitage first leaked Ms. Plame's identity, not Mr. Libby or Mr. Cheney."

do you think contradicts

Armitage was one of four known leakers. The others are Libby, Rove and Fleischer.

?
1.17.2009 3:31am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Obama's number one problem is the economy. On this he's very likely to fail if he follows his announced plans to print gigantic amounts of money and use it for mostly make work. In order to be effective the stimulus funds must be spent on capital items that will create a future income stream to pay off the spending. But politicians don't think that way. They want to employ people and employ them quickly. This means unproductive (in the long run) make work. Of course on this Bush is equally bad. But let's remember Obama is supposed to make the economy better. He won't.
1.17.2009 3:35am
LM (mail):
David Warner:

"Just every single content-free criticism of Bush from liberals the Left."

Actually, as I define "liberal" and "left," I stand by my comment as written.

If we could all just agree on a single glossary of political identifications, these comment threads might shrink up and blow away.
1.17.2009 4:23am
sandra (mail):
"My rationale: no successful terrorist attacks since 9/11"

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?
1.17.2009 5:32am
Hoosier:
At least one "Rightie" non-blogger says: I sincerely hope that Obama has a successful couple years.
1.17.2009 9:25am
glangston (mail):
No matter how much lefty bloggers believe Obama will succeed, they'll still have their anger management issues. Blogging and anger are co-dependent.
1.17.2009 10:06am
David Warner:
LM,

"If we could all just agree on a single glossary of political identifications, these comment threads might shrink up and blow away."

And what fun would that be? If I refer to any X derangement syndrome, I'm talking about animus divorced from any evidence, and often flying directly in the face of the evidence that exists.

Liberals tend to value liberty and the commitment to truth such liberty ultimately requires - trust requiring such a commitment if it is to transcend tribal bounds, and true liberty requiring such trust - whereas what I term the Left tends to be more interested in the will to power and nursing resentments. Of course they learned the former from the Right, and the Right seems to be learning the latter from them.
1.17.2009 10:09am
gran habano:
"Legacy of George Walker Bush presidency

Good:

* Republican party discredited and demoralized for a generation

Bad:

* Failure to strengthen New Orleans flood control system before Katrina"


You can't be truly interested in the governance of this country, and still wish for the failure of either of the major political parties. You seem to favor a race to the bottom, and judging by current governing results, both of these political parties seem to be giving you your wish. Properly gauged, the public seems to agree on this.
.
.
.

Do you really believe that Bush 43 should/could have resolved 70 years of failed public policy in Southern Louisiana, involving social engineering, civil engineering, hydraulics, hydrology, commerce, federalism, corruption, ... and so much more?

And that he could have marched into office and done all that in less than one presidential term... and indeed SHOULD HAVE DONE SO.... AND IS TO BE JUDGED HARSHLY BECAUSE HE DIDN'T?

Just to isolate one small issue... the engineering required (ignoring all else, and it's a whole lot of "else"). Do you really believe that in the length of one presidential term, we could have even completed the conceptual engineering STUDY required to do what you're asking for? This is absurd.
.
.
.

I scorn Bush, but these 2 statements are simply BDS.
1.17.2009 10:25am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
david matthews:

in the end it was discovered that Richard Armitage first leaked Ms. Plame's identity, not Mr. Libby or Mr. Cheney


Wikipedia is a valuable resource, but this is a classic example of using it carelessly and/or dishonestly. Wikipedia is where you got the above statement (although you didn't bother giving us the link). Notice anything interesting about that statement? It carries no citation. That means it violates Wiki's own standards. Every factual claim in Wikipedia is supposed to be easily verifiable via an outside source. Many or most Wiki articles meet that standard. The one you cited does not. (The statement includes an embedded link to Armitage's Wiki page, but that's not enough; it needs a direct citation to prove the claims made in the statement, and Armitage's Wiki page does not contain such proof.)

So you've managed to prove that you know that Wikipedia exists, but that you don't understand how to use it properly and/or honestly.

Now, is it actually true that "Armitage first leaked Ms. Plame's identity?" It is generally accepted (although not exactly proven) that Armitage was the first to leak "Plame's identity" to Novak. Trouble is, the information was leaked to other reporters, too (but Novak gets the attention because he was the first reporter to put the information in print).

The statement you cite implies not just that Armitage was the first to leak Plame's identity to Novak, but rather that Armitage was the first to leak Plame's identity to any reporter, period. Really? Let us know when you're in a position to prove this. There is lots of speculation that this is true, but I've never seen proof.

Aside from this, I did not claim that Fleischer, Rove and/or Libby preceded Armitage. I merely claimed (and proved) that they are leakers also. So (as LM pointed out), you are disingenuously moving the goal posts.

By the way, it doesn't matter a hell of a lot who was first. It is not OK to rob a bank just because someone else may have robbed the same bank, and it is not OK to disclose classified information just because someone else may have already disclosed it. This is stipulated explicitly in the SF-312 briefing booklet:

Information remains classified until it has been officially declassified. Its disclosure in a public source does not declassify the information.


In other words, the leaks by Libby, Rove and Fleischer would have been wrong even if they had happened after Novak's column appeared. But those three all leaked (to various reporters, including Novak) before Novak's column appeared. So what they did is definitely wrong, without regard to whether or not Armitage may have leaked first. Even if Armitage was the first to leak classified information (and this is unproven), the rest of the group does not get a free pass to do the same thing.

Here's something else that's interesting about the statement you cited. It mentions Cheney as an alleged leaker, even though no one alleges that Cheney was one of the people who leaked to the press. (It is known that he circulated the information inside the government, to Libby and probably others, but this is not what we usually mean by the word "leak.") The anonymous Wiki contributor who wrote that statement is obviously someone who doesn't know what they're talking about. The relevant person to mention would have been Rove, not Cheney. Maybe the writer doesn't understand the difference between those two people.

Well, let's see, if we're not just a partisan puke, we can look at the record


Thanks for the laugh. Your idea of "the record" is a statement from Wikipedia that is unverified, careless and misleading, and obviously written by someone who doesn't know that they're talking about. Meanwhile, you're the person who was just hinting that evidence is only acceptable if it comes from "the courts … sworn affidavits [or] congressional testimony." Oh, the irony.

And, as LM pointed out, the feeble statement you cited doesn't even contradict the claim I made. So the "partisan puke" is you.

I could continue to present further evidence


Given your peculiar concept of "evidence," I look forward to the entertainment. Please proceed.

Almost-Senator Franken will, should he be seated, forever be the senator from Acorn


I have yet to see evidence that ACORN's work has ever led to a single fraudulent vote actually being cast. In MN, or anywhere else. Do you have such proof? And by "proof," I mean something more useful and credible than an irrelevant, sloppy, unverified statement by an anonymous Wiki contributor.

==========================
pc:

I'm still waiting to hear some resolution in the ACORN conspiracy that was undermining the fabric of our democracy. Things have been oddly silent on that front.


Good point. And let's roll the tape, since I have it handy. McCain said this:

ACORN … is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.


The DOJ is still in the hands of a GOP administration (for a few more nanoseconds), so I figured for sure we'd see some indictments by now. What the heck are they waiting for? Hopefully they are not going to sit on their hands and let ACORN get away with "destroying the fabric of democracy."

==========================
zarkov:

This means unproductive (in the long run) make work.


I guess you mean something like the "work" done by people on Wall St, who get paid zillions of dollars to invent exotic financial instruments that no one understands and end up rotting the economy. (My guess is that you agree with me on this point.)

We embraced "unproductive" work a long time ago, when we inflated the financial sector and shipped the manufacturing sector overseas.
1.17.2009 10:32am
AndyinNC:

Do you really believe that Bush 43 should/could have resolved 70 years of failed public policy in Southern Louisiana, involving social engineering, civil engineering, hydraulics, hydrology, commerce, federalism, corruption, ... and so much more?

It's a lovely strawman, but I don't know many who blame Bush for the failure of the levee system. People blame him for not paying attention to the storm when it was known that the levee system was vulnerable, appointing incompetent buddies to the leadership of emergency response agencies, a musical chairs of leadership after the response was slow, the incompetent and toxic emergency housing, slow reconstruction funding, and his seeming disinterest in a major disaster.

The simple fact that FEMA went from an agency seen as so competent under the Clinton administration that popular media depicted it as the secret shadow government that would take over the country to a demoralized, poorly managed agency that was poorly integrated into the DHS. And that IS Bush's responsibility.
1.17.2009 11:07am
Hoosier:
The simple fact that FEMA went from an agency seen as so competent under the Clinton administration that popular media depicted it as the secret shadow government that would take over the country to a demoralized, poorly managed agency that was poorly integrated into the DHS. And that IS Bush's responsibility.

And you consider that a failure?!!

Let me repeat what a very wise person once said: It's a lovely strawman, but public perceptions can't answer the question of responsibility, and are not so easily summarized in any event. The Conspiraprheniacs still think FEMA has its black helicopters at the ready. And the patent incompetence of the UN—which has demonstrated that it can stop mass murder slightly less well than can mass murders—is still the chief organ of the NWO.

I'm not a Bush fan. But this propensity for overstating the "irreparable damage inflicted upon X by his administration!!!!!" really needs to go.
1.17.2009 11:28am
gran habano:
"...I don't know many who blame Bush for the failure of the levee system."

The guy who I was responding to just did... tacit recognition by even a BDS'er that the levee failure triggered this controversy.

But a storm would hit eventually (much like the unfunded liabilities storm will eventually hit). I and likely any knowledgeable engineer around knew the longtime issues in Southern LA, and NO particularly. The tragic issues were have political roots... not purely technical, and certainly not technically resolvable in 4 years (and, editorially, perhaps shouldn't be resolved at ALL... A responsible solution for the MS delta levees might be more along the lines of dynamite... and a healthy restoration of the system for all... upstream and downstream)

That levee failure is what exposed the 70 years of failed governance, responsibility for which you seem to assign to only one particular segment of that 70 years, including that of a bungling federal bureaucracy that is FEMA, whose flood maps (their only work product we professionals ever found of value, for several decades now) would indicate NOT building 15 feet below sea level (let alone the feds being complicit with the squalid corruption resulting from same)..

Please. The BDS is getting tiresome. Keep it real. Rip on Bush for what's real... but the wide net derangement isn't productive for anybody.
1.17.2009 11:41am
A. Zarkov (mail):
jukeboxgrad:

"(My guess is that you agree with me on this point.)

We embraced "unproductive" work a long time ago, when we inflated the financial sector and shipped the manufacturing sector overseas."


Your guess is right. You will find no bigger critic of Wall Street and the whole financial service industry than me. The US needs to rebuild its manufacturing sector and shrink its financial sector. That might require protectionism for a while. If the stimulus package improves our transportation system, I'm for it. If it give us cheap energy instead of politically correct expensive energy, I'm for it. That means coal not windmills. But if the stimulus package means handing out money for people to run to the malls and buy stuff made in China, I'm against it. If the stimulus package starts to look like the old CETA program, I'm against it.
1.17.2009 11:45am
eyesay:
Some have suggested here that the Bush administration bears little responsibility for the catastrophic Katrina episode.

The weakness of the New Orleans flood control system was understood years before Katrina. Scientific American reported in October 2001 Drowning New Orleans that major hurricane could swamp New Orleans under 20 feet of water, killing thousands. Popular Mechanics reported in September 2001 New Orleans Is Sinking, "Emergency planners believe that it is a foregone conclusion that the Big Easy someday will be hit by a scouring storm surge. And, given the tremendous amount of coastal-area development, this watery 'big one' will produce a staggering amount of damage." These are just two of many such warnings.

Responsibility for the flood control system of New Orleans is federal, specifically the Army Corps of Engineers.

In the spring and summer of 2005, there were plenty of reports warning of the threat to New Orleans and that FEMA had been downsized by Republican budget cuts and would have problems responding to the emergency.

For the past 28 years or more, Republicans have campaigned on a platform of downsizing government. To this end, Republicans have cut spending by neglecting our nation's infrastructure and our emergency response system. When those who govern don't believe in good government, the inevitable result is bad government.

The Bush administration has stood in denial on the very real global climate crisis (along with many of the commentators on this blog), which is connected to increased hurricane activity.

So, yes, I do lay a considerable share of the responsibility for the 2005 devastation of New Orleans and the poor response to it at the doorstep of the Bush administration.
1.17.2009 12:27pm
eyesay:
DangerMouse, gran habano: BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) is not what you think it is. Bush Derangement Syndrome is the deranged failure to recognize what a disaster the presidency of George W. Bush has been, and you are suffering from it.
1.17.2009 12:33pm
Jmaie (mail):
* Subordination of science to politics
* Eight years of neglect of the climate crisis, about which, sadly, many of the commentators on this blog are in denial

Thanks for including both in the same comment, I needed a chuckle.

Whether AGW is either a complete hoax, or spells the death of the human race, the science has been utterly subordinated to politics.
1.17.2009 12:46pm
Bart (mail):
For a conservative, Bush is a decidedly mixed bag:

WOT = Great (al Qeada has been decimated. Hard to see how this could have gone much better short of lucking out and capturing bin Laden).

Courts = Great (Apart from the Meyer stumble).

International aid = Great (Saved millions of lives in Africa with a minimal outlay)

Iraq = Good (A victory, but took longer than it needed to).

Tax cuts = Good (Not close to Reagan, but not bad).

Entitlements = Terrible (Medicare drug benefit will make it even harder to meet entitlement obligations to the Boomers)

Spending = Terrible (Nearly a 1/3 increase in government made Clinton look like a fiscal conservative).

Fannie and Freddie = Fair/Terrible (Gets points for identifying the mortgage problem back in 2003 and probably unfair to expect him in 20/20 hindsight to have seen the extent of the fallout, but he did nothing substantive even though he knew about the problem).

TARP = Fair/Terrible (Gets points for acting decisively, something with which W has never had a problem, but he allowed Treasury to simply give away the money to the banks rather than cleaning up the bad mortgages as promised. Worse still, it gave the new Dem government cover for pissing away nearly a Trillion Dollars more in government expansion under the rubric of "stimulus.")

Overall = Fair.
1.17.2009 12:58pm
methodact:
They both serve the New World Order. BO's role will be to usher in the Carbon Taxes, which according to Alex Jones, are to be paid directly to the International Bankers.
1.17.2009 1:30pm
trad and anon (mail):
And no major American cities destroyed since 8/29!
1.17.2009 1:37pm
Hoosier:
So, yes, I do lay a considerable share of the responsibility for the 2005 devastation of New Orleans and the poor response to it at the doorstep of the Bush administration.

Well, then I'm sorry for you.

method

methodact:
They both serve the New World Order. BO's role will be to usher in the Carbon Taxes, which according to Alex Jones, are to be paid directly to the International Bankers.

Naturally. But since Jones has discovered this for us, I wonder if he has also explained how the money will then be transferred to the Nazi base on the far side of the Moon. Since his websites no longer link to the video evidence , I am afraid that the Vatican Nazi-Joos have gotten to him.

Well, thank God we still have Michael Moore. And the Google Earth video of the Nazi base in Antarctica!
1.17.2009 2:33pm
Bad English:
"But Republicans don't believe in market regulation and so none was proposed."

Not counting, e.g., Bush and McCain's strenuous efforts in 2005 to reform subprime lending. Thank God Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Franklin Raines -- all Republicans, right? -- shut those reform efforts down.
1.17.2009 3:16pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

Not counting, e.g., Bush and McCain's strenuous efforts in 2005 to reform subprime lending. Thank God Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Franklin Raines -- all Republicans, right? -- shut those reform efforts down.

I'm sorry, the Republicans don't even get an E for effort here. The House did pass a Fannie/Freddie reform bill in 2004. Unfortunately, the companion Hagel-Dole bill died a lonely death in Shelby's Senate Banking Committee, despite McCain's delayed endorsement (in 2005 he made a speech, or perhaps merely had some remarks inserted into the Congressional Record).

The only explanation for Shelby's inaction that I've heard is that he was "afraid" of a filibuster.

His impotence here made Shelby's later criticism of Big Three mismanagement even more ironic. (The foreign car makers he favors make gas guzzling SUVs in his state, along with 350 cubic inch V-8s. Frankly BMW and Honda and Toyota appear to be copying Big Three styles, not setting a standard for Detroit to emulate.)
1.17.2009 3:51pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
Perseus:

Re comparing people at the beginning and end of their administrations, don't take it up with me, take it up with the bloggers polled about Bush and Obama.
1.17.2009 4:51pm
Joe Hunley (mail) (www):
This shows that "95% of left leaning bloggers" were just as "Star Struct" by Obama's well planned and delivered speeches as many voters were. Those President Bush will "Take The Heat" for things such as the economy and what I consider to be a lack of action dealing with immigration reform, there is no doubt that His "Don't tread on Me" attitude towards terrorist has kept our nation safe from interior attack. Obama's success remains to be seen, A brilliant spokesman no doubt, however it is easy to "Talk the Talk"--given the circumstances surrounding him can he "Walk the Walk"
1.17.2009 4:55pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bad:

Bush and McCain's strenuous efforts in 2005 to reform subprime lending. Thank God Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Franklin Raines -- all Republicans, right? -- shut those reform efforts down


The best part is how Frank et al exercised mind control over Republicans. Maybe you forgot, but Congress was in the hands of the GOP in 2005.

And according to Mike Oxley (R), what happened was this:

Mr Oxley reached out to Barney Frank, then the ranking Democrat on the committee and now its chairman, to secure support on the other side of the aisle. But after winning bipartisan support in the House, where the bill passed by 331 to 90 votes, the legislation lacked a champion in the Senate and faced hostility from the Bush administration … the White House attacked the bill


(If that link nags you to register, an alternate link is here.)

Yes, "strenuous efforts" indeed. Bush's "strenuous efforts" were oriented towards creating an "ownership society," which involved setting a goal "to help 5.5 million minorities become homeowners by the end of this decade." (Details via here.) For some reason this is forgotten.

============
bart:

al Qeada has been decimated


The last NIE on this subject (pdf, 7/07) said AQ "has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability" and that "al-Qa’ida will continue to enhance its capabilities to attack the Homeland" and that "Al-Qa’ida is and will remain the most serious terrorist threat to the Homeland." But for some reason you think it's now time to declare 'mission accomplished.' Are you sure? Your statement reminds me of the day Bush said this (9/27/04):

Taliban no longer is in existence.


How did that turn out?

============
hoosier:

this propensity for overstating the "irreparable damage inflicted upon X by his administration!!!!!" really needs to go


What "really needs to go" is "this propensity" for accusing someone of overstating something while not showing a shred of proof that there was actually any overstating.
1.17.2009 5:09pm
Hoosier:
Bad English

Thank God Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Franklin Raines -- all Republicans, right? -- shut those reform efforts down.

Well, at least Raines didn't have any problematic connections with Fannie and Freddie. So he has that going for him. Which is nice.
1.17.2009 5:20pm
Dissenting Justice (mail) (www):
My fellow liberals really need to learn how to argue with nuance. There are many other contenders for the "worst president" in history. Besides, it will take some time before we can truly ascertain his longterm impact. Get a Grip People: Bush Is not the Worst President in U.S. History
1.17.2009 6:49pm
gran habano:
"Responsibility for the flood control system of New Orleans is federal, specifically the Army Corps of Engineers."

This is a facile view, void of understanding.

What do you mean by "responsibility"? You should frame your answer around the reality that politicians make policy... not military officers... and not engineers.

And those officer/engineers certainly didn't make 70 years of policy divorced, from all of the various tiers of government that have conspired longterm to create the policy disaster that awaited a meteorological roll of the dice.

Do you think the Corps gives direction to the executive, state of LA, the parrish levee boards, or any corrupt permutation of them?

The bad thing about this obsession is that it keeps us from resolution of issues that need it. I mentioned the coming entitlement disaster, caused by policy failure, and that the policy failures in LA were just as apparent to professionals decades ago as SS failures are today. And like SS, they have been decades in the making.

This BDS really is a disorder.
1.17.2009 7:39pm
Fury:
Several things....

There's blame to be heaped upon both Republicans and Democrats for the problems related to subprime lending. President Bush, Congress, the Fed, etc. But these problems did not start with President Bush, they started years earlier. There's no inalienable right to own a home, at least not that I'm aware of. Perhaps if we worked from that premise, America might be in a bit better position.

As far as jukeboxgrad's comment of:

"I have yet to see evidence that ACORN's work has ever led to a single fraudulent vote actually being cast. In MN, or anywhere else. Do you have such proof? And by "proof," I mean something more useful and credible than an irrelevant, sloppy, unverified statement by an anonymous Wiki contributor."

He is correct, although there are multiple instances of ACORN workers arrested and/or indicted and ultimately pleading guilty and/or convicted of crimes concerning voter registration fraud/election fraud, which has been discussed on the VC several times, including here.
1.17.2009 7:53pm
Hoosier:
Dissenting Justice

Thanks for your thoughtful post. How could one make even a reasonable case that Bush is worse that Pierce or Buchanan?

The Kansas-Nebraska Act. The conclusion that the president has no power to defend the Constitution.

Take your pick.

If you want outright lying to get the US into a war that had already been decided, howsabout Polk?

The "Bush lied, people died" ritual has become the basis of a stock speech given by a notable professor of history emeritus whom I had the pleasure of hearing speak this past semester. As he was going through the charges, what struck me for the first time was that there wasn't one charge on his list that was not also true of FDR prior to Pearl Harbor.

I don't think that this makes Bush anything other than a bad president. But how can one explain that an experienced historian, who is a great admirer of Franklin Roosevelt, could claim that Bush was unique in:

--Taking the nation to war against a country that was not responsible for a devastating attack on the US;

and

--Planning to do precisely this well ahead of that attack?


Just inexplicable, unless one accepts that Bush-haters like this gentleman are allowing their animosity to overwhelm their prudence.
1.17.2009 8:38pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
This essay and thread are perfect examples of "cultural para-stimuli."

It was discovered by Nobel Laureate Victor Ransome Starling, who found that when he surrounded normal cats with cats whose behavior had been bizarrely altered by brain surgery, the normal cats began acting like the crazy cats all around them.



For eight years we have been bombarded by the culture created by the MSM and entertainment shows that even Bush supporters are afraid to come out in his support. A great example is the belief on the part of many people that Sarah Palin said that she can see Russia from her house. Of course that was an actress in Saturday Night Live, Tina Fey, but for Obama supporters that’s an established fact.

Obama supporters are just like a lot of people, people who don’t know which party is in control of congress, don’t know who Pelosi or Harry Reid is but who know without a doubt that Sarah Palin had a $150,000 wardrobe and has a teen aged daughter who was pregnant. Doubt me? See the video.
They also” know” that Bush received actionable intelligence about the attacks on 9/11 but failed to act. If the best the CIA and the FBI can come up with is the warning that OBL is planning to attack the US, I can save the government a lot of money. Give me half their budget and I can write these warning from the deck of my yacht and be just as actionable. Were we told that Arabs were in the US taking flying lessons but were not interested in learning how to land? Were we warned that a group of young Arab males was arming itself with box cutters? Were we told that they were going to get on early morning flights out of Boston? Were we warned by the CIA that highjacked planes were going to used as missiles? Actionable intelligence is not a general statement that OBL plans to attack the US. We knew that from reading the papers after the first World Trade Center bombing.

These are people who know that Bush’s Federal government did nothing to prevent Katrina. These are people who are not aware of the rescue efforts by the military right after the hurricane. Who assume that it’s the Federal government’s responsibility to protect the people of New Orleans and that if something bad happens to them, its Bush’s fault? They were told that there was widespread rape, cannibalism and sniper fire after the hurricane because the media and New Orleans major told them so, and the MSM has never reported that it was wrong.
They were told that Bush made up the WMDs in Iraq so that he could invade and, depending on whom you believe: (1) steal Iraq’s oil, (2) give contracts to Halliburton, (3) avenge the threat to his father, (4) insert your own reason. And they also know that steel does not melt.

They believe that the war in Iraq was a failure despite the fact that we won, the Iraqi people have the beginning of a popular government elected by the people, Saddam and his murderous sons are not longer in charge, and we now know for sure that there are no WMDs. Depending on how this first experiment in democracy works, the oppressed people of the Middle East have something better to look forward to than rule by theocratic or hereditary tyrants.
Bush’s failure was that he was never an inspirational leader. He was focused, stubborn and – for someone who was so reviled by the Left – never struck back. For those who supported him, this was their greatest frustration. He was never our ally, never in the political arena. He had the support of the Conservatives because of his policies, not because he led the charge.

That appears to be a defect in a nation that gets its information from comedy shows on TV and ideologues paid for by plutocrats.
1.17.2009 9:36pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
As one poster suggested, O might be successful doing something that is anathema to half the population. So is that a good thing or a bad thing?
He might be successful using the warming hoax to ship business to non-compliers like China and India. Would that be good or bad? He might settle down the ME for a couple of months by selling out Israel. Successful, but good?
1.17.2009 9:49pm
LM (mail):
David Warner:

If I refer to any X derangement syndrome, I'm talking about animus divorced from any evidence, and often flying directly in the face of the evidence that exists.

This conflates at least three questions:

1. Is there a valid basis for the argument that gets dismissed as "[X]DS"?

2. Does animus toward X distort the perceptions informing the argument?

3. Irrespective of #2, is there a valid basis for animus toward X?

First, obviously, calling one's opponent "deranged" is never civil. Re: #1, "XDS" isn't a logical counter-argument, regardless of what it responds to. Consequently, #2 is irrelevant. #3 doesn't seem to get asked very often. Maybe it ought to.

Speaking for myself, based on the little reliable insight we get into public figures, George Bush seems like a decent enough guy. I have no animus toward him. But I am angry. Having encouraged vocal war opponents to give Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iraq (even though I also opposed the invasion), I felt betrayed by the White House's decision to politicize the war debate, personalize the politics, and vilify the war critics.

I have no idea whether that decision was Bush's, Cheney's, Rove's... and I don't really care. By deciding that a unified war effort was less important to them than motivating their base for the next election, they made me a liar to everyone I told, "They deserve our support." And all those people I gave that bad advice to have even more reason to be pissed. Their patriotism was called into question for being, by and large, right. And they never got an apology for the former or an acknowledgment of the latter.

Anybody who's curious about where a lot of the hostility toward Bush originated should look right there. Not the Clinton impeachment. Not the 2000 election. On 9/11 Bush's slate was wiped more than 90% clean. So the notion that he had >90% approval one day, and then a whole bunch of people just got "deranged," ought to give pause to anyone concerned with the truth.

So, do I have BDS? I've been accused of it often enough. I'm guessing you'll say "no," and that's why my initial comment was directed at some conservatives.
1.17.2009 10:53pm
LM (mail):

Liberals tend to value liberty and the commitment to truth such liberty ultimately requires - trust requiring such a commitment if it is to transcend tribal bounds, and true liberty requiring such trust - whereas what I term the Left tends to be more interested in the will to power and nursing resentments.

I realize that's how you would describe them, but it begs the question of how we identify the subjects of our comments. Do you think only those people you described would take your references to "liberals" and "the Left," respectively, as directed at them? Isn't it likelier a lot more people call themselves "left" than meet your description? And that your definition of "liberal" is substantially different the way a lot of other people use it?

I don't mean to single you out. I have my own idiosyncrasies. And some people don't even feel constrained to use a word consistently from one comment to the next. What I'm getting at is just how sloppily we manage to avoid pinning down the most important terms in our discourse, i.e., who we're talking to and about. It gets virtually no attention, but I have a feeling it plays a non-trivial part in how often we talk at or past, rather than with, each other.
1.17.2009 11:43pm
David Warner:
LM,

"What I'm getting at is just how sloppily we manage to avoid pinning down the most important terms in our discourse, i.e., who we're talking to and about. It gets virtually no attention, but I have a feeling it plays a non-trivial part in how often we talk at or past, rather than with, each other."

Which is exactly why I take such pains to be exact in my terminology, and not just lazily lump liberals like yourself in with our modern day Nika rioters. It would be one thing if the word liberal were invented fifty years ago and I decided to create my own meaning at variance with the common usage, but the liberal tradition is a proud one, going back (at least) to Socrates, and I believe it to be worth defending, regardless of how much it is (mis-)used as an epithet from the Hannitidiots or as a bizarre badge of honor among those who spend every waking hour attacking the actual liberals in their midst, like white blood cells gone rogue.
1.18.2009 12:25am
David Warner:
LM,

"First, obviously, calling one's opponent "deranged" is never civil. Re: #1, "XDS" isn't a logical counter-argument, regardless of what it responds to. Consequently, #2 is irrelevant. #3 doesn't seem to get asked very often. Maybe it ought to."

The BDS'ers aren't my opponents. You, at times, are, and I hope I've treated you civilly. If someone takes a shit in the middle of my living room, "opponent" is not exactly the appropriate word for what they are, and I hope you don't expect me to respond with civility. I suspect you'll see me unload on some ODS'ers in the near future, as I once did on those deranged by Clinton.

"Having encouraged vocal war opponents to give Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iraq (even though I also opposed the invasion), I felt betrayed by the White House's decision to politicize the war debate, personalize the politics, and vilify the war critics."

Well, my experiences were dramatically different. Perhaps that has something to do with being on an Ivy campus at the time. I do appreciate your perspective, and I imagine that I'll be gentler on BDSers in the future having heard it. You took the trouble to at least present a plausible rationale, which distinguishes you from the BDSers, who seem to feel that only sub-humans would require them.

"So the notion that he had >90% approval one day, and then a whole bunch of people just got "deranged," ought to give pause to anyone concerned with the truth."

I think you're right. It wasn't derangement, it was worse. But that's the old Archie Bunker/Meathead fight, and this new President seems more interesting than rehashing that.

"So, do I have BDS? I've been accused of it often enough. I'm guessing you'll say "no," and that's why my initial comment was directed at some conservatives."

You're in no sense deranged. You conduct yourself in the manner in which most of those who call themselves liberal believe they conduct themselves. Would that they did. BTW, I'm in no sense conservative. If it were up to me, we'd be terraforming Mars tomorrow.

As for the liberal-left distinction, just finished this, which might interest you. Almost finished with the Berlin corpus.
1.18.2009 12:50am
LM (mail):
David Warner:

Which is exactly why I take such pains to be exact in my terminology [...]

At the risk of repeating myself (actually, there's no risk -- I am repeating myself) let me be clear: I was referring to this sort of discourse in toto, not you or anyone else in particular. I call myself "left," and I'm not the least offended when you use the term pejoratively. I know what you mean, and I know you don't include me in the category. My point was that there are almost as many such disparate usages of "left," "right," "liberal" and "conservative" as there are commenters in the blogosphere, and we usually have little idea what most of the others mean. But rather than clearing it up, we just whistle past the Tower of Babel. On Mars.

The BDS'ers aren't my opponents.

We disagree. I know people who believe and say things exactly this obnoxious, yet when the topic is anything but politics they're genuinely lovely people. Some BDS'ers and ODS'ers probably do deserve unloading on, but I've found political opinions, however extreme, a singularly unreliable predictor of character.

I hope I've treated you civilly

Always.

Well, my experiences were dramatically different. Perhaps that has something to do with being on an Ivy campus at the time.

I wouldn't be surprised. Until talk radio and now the blogosphere, I never encountered the sort of mob intolerance I saw on campus.
1.18.2009 4:20am
Dissenting Justice (mail) (www):
Hoosier, I do believe that emotions have taken over prudence in some regard. I raised this issue on a "democratic" board, and was bombarded with anger. They said I was a "Bush apologist" and that no "liberal" would try to salvage his presidency. Some of them thought my arguments about Andrew Johnson referred to LBJ. Some admitted that they did not know much about Johnson -- which to them proves that history has not held him in poor esteem ("we got over him"). I do not believe that "hating" a politician demonstrates a commitment to any real type of political progress. Instead, it just sounds like partisan football.
1.18.2009 9:59am
David Warner:
LM,

"My point was that there are almost as many such disparate usages of "left," "right," "liberal" and "conservative" as there are commenters in the blogosphere, and we usually have little idea what most of the others mean."

There are some quirky ones, like, alas, mine, but there is mostly the big two. For Yankee fans conservatives, conservative/right means everything that's good and true about America, while liberal means roughly what Tory meant at the time of the Revolution. For Sox fans liberals progressives, liberal/left means scientific, caring, romantic, open-minded, diverse, intellectually curious, enlightened, unselfish, worldly, educated, fair, brave, and above all compassionate, or it did until those bastard conservatives defamed the word and made them switch to progressive, while conservative means roughly what Tory meant at the time of the Revolution.

Believe it or not, if you put a gun to my head, I'd probably cop to being left myself. After liberty, social mobility tops my value list. It's just that the historical "right" (those with high status/power) have come to notice just how much social immobility (social security, one might say) is produced by so-called "leftist" policies in practice, so have adopted them for their very own. This is the most plausible explanation I can come up with for why they're so popular among elite campuses and foundations.

Check the blurbs on this book, then imagine that it was titled "The World Without Jews/Muslims/Blacks/any subset of humanity". I think its the most Right-Wing book that's been published in my lifetime. Worse, its a great read. What its not in any sense is liberal.

"I know people who believe and say things exactly this obnoxious, yet when the topic is anything but politics they're genuinely lovely people."

Which is exactly why I take the trouble to let them know when their fly is down, so to speak. Civility doesn't communicate that so well. As for those like the guy in your link(s), silence is the Neutron Bomb of the interwebs.
1.18.2009 11:44am
Hoosier:
Dissenting
I do not believe that "hating" a politician demonstrates a commitment to any real type of political progress.

Well, I'm with you on that. I can't think of any politician whom I actually hate. Although Al Franken has a shot at it. [If he asks even one question at a committe hearing in that annoying Stuart Smalley voice, his picture is going on my dartboard. I tell you what!]
1.18.2009 3:40pm
David Warner:
Hoosier,

[If he asks even one question at a committe hearing in that annoying Stuart Smalley voice, his picture is going on my dartboard. I tell you what!]

You know, back then I always had the sneaking suspicion that Smalley was the real Franken, and the rest was an act. At least with Jesse the Body he was reasonably likable... No wonder the Norse spent a millennium and a half on the sauce.
1.18.2009 4:07pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
"To trash Bush was to belong"

A Volokh Conspiracy specialty.
1.18.2009 9:14pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier and DW,

Just to establish my sanity credentials on this subject, I'll pile on and say that not only has Al Frankin never written or said a funny thing in his life, but he's unfunny in the most aggressive, revoltingly self-impressed way.

OK, that said, I'm guessing neither of you listened much, if at all, to his Air America show. Why would you? Why would anyone? Well I did, at first by accident, but then a fair amount on purpose. It turns out, as a commentator he's shockingly reasonable. Obviously very liberal ("left" for DW), but at least in one important respect, his willingness to contradict left-wing guests against their common partisan interest whenever he thought they overreached, he was the most intellectually honest political talk radio host I've ever heard, left or right.

I realize that's damning with faint praise. Also, I don't rule out that his willingness to contradict guests reflected nothing more than the triumph of narcissism over partisanship, but I take my triumphs over partisanship any way I can get them. Honestly, the Drano looked a little more appealing every time he laughed at one of his own insipid attempts at humor, and that was all the time, so I wouldn't have just casually left his show on because I didn't notice the one before it was over. And it's not as if he had any particularly novel insights (though he did have a lot of interesting guests).

On the other hand, there was Janeane Garofolo, who's a borderline conspiracy theorist, but very funny.
1.19.2009 2:36am
LM (mail):
David, I forgot to mention earlier that "You conduct yourself in the manner in which most of those who call themselves liberal believe they conduct themselves" was very kind. Thank you.
1.19.2009 2:41am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
money:

Were we warned by the CIA that highjacked planes were going to used as missiles?


You seem to be repeating a common theme, that no one anticipated the use of hijacked airplanes as missiles. Trouble is, this theme is false.

Were we warned that a group of young Arab males was arming itself with box cutters?


You're repeating another common theme, that box cutters were used. This also seems to be false.

Obama supporters are just like a lot of people, people who don’t know which party is in control of congress, don’t know who Pelosi or Harry Reid is…


If you're trying to make the point that a lot of people are misinformed, you're right. And your own statements are a good example.

================
fury:

He is correct, although there are multiple instances of ACORN workers arrested and/or indicted and ultimately pleading guilty and/or convicted of crimes concerning voter registration fraud/election fraud


This is a bit of a quibble, but I think it would be better if you just said "registration fraud" and not "election fraud." I know what the former is. The latter term is more general, and a reader could interpret it as 'voting fraud,' i.e., casting fraudulent votes.

The first part of your sentence ("he is correct") indicates that you don't intend to convey that meaning (that ACORN workers have been found guilty of casting fraudulent votes). But the distinction is important, so I just want to highlight the unhelpful ambiguity in your phrase "election fraud."
1.19.2009 10:35am
Hoosier:
LM

Yeah, I never listened to "Air America." I found the naming of a leftie talk radio network after a covert CIA smuggling operation to be a bit off-putting.

But Franken did commit the sin of being a comedian who forgot the "being-funny" thing.

Why can't the Democrats come up with real senate candidates? I would so totally vote for Emo Philips.
1.19.2009 11:23am
David Warner:
LM,

Oh I tried to listen to Air America - I can't take Limbaugh for more than five minutes at a time. The problem is that AA took all the annoying parts of Limbaugh without any of the redeeming features. From what I've seen of Maddow, she seems to have chosen similarly unwisely. There's a giant vacuum for Menckenesque grown-up humor/commentary that still stands unfilled.

Interesting insight on Franken - I'll admit to never listening to his show, but not out of anti-AA animus, initially, but out of a "this guy needs to find another line of work that doesn't involve subjecting millions to his thoughts" impulse. I guess we'll all soon see if those thoughts have improved.
1.19.2009 11:47am
LM (mail):

I would so totally vote for Emo Philips.

... as I would have for Doc Ellis (as opposed to, say, Jim Bunning).
1.19.2009 5:24pm
Fury:
That's a fair point, jukeboxgrad. I was using "election fraud" as it was in the headline of an article (see here).

I will note that the docket report for some of these folks uses the word election in regard to defrauding residents of a fair election process. For example, in USA v. Bland et al, Bland and several of his associates pled guilty to counts of:

False information in voter registration (42 U.S.C. § 1973i(c) and 18 U.S.C. § 2)

and:

Defrauding resident of a fair election process (42 U.S.C. § 1973gg-10 and 18 U.S.C. § 2)

So I can understand why the reporter wrote the headline of election fraud, as he was ostensibly referring to the second count in the indictment of Bland et al.
1.19.2009 7:36pm
Hoosier:
LM


I would so totally vote for Emo Philips.


... as I would have for Doc Ellis (as opposed to, say, Jim Bunning).


I believe Ellis is now eligible to run for Senate in Missouri. So why not, right?
1.19.2009 11:42pm
LM (mail):

I believe Ellis is now eligible to run for Senate in Missouri.

Is that some kind of "dead" joke or did Claire McCaskill once pitch a no-hitter on LSD?
1.20.2009 12:32am
cmr:
What does BDS and ODS mean? As a rule, we need to only use abbreviations if they're of things you've spelled out already within the same post. Otherwise it gets confusing.
1.20.2009 9:15pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Google bds and see if one of the first four or five results seems to have a political connotation.
1.20.2009 11:03pm

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